bottle of carrot oil with seeds and root

Even though we have the terms “carrot oil” and “carrot seed oil,” they actually refer to three types of oils. Each oil has a different nutritional profile and therefore, offers different skin care benefits.

So, to help you decide which one is right for you, this article is going to cover the difference between carrot oil and carrot seed oil. More specifically, we will look at:

  • Their general characteristics.
  • Benefits for the skin.
  • How to use in your skin care routine.

To start off, let’s look at the three types of “carrot oils” that you should be aware of.

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Made by soaking dried carrots in carrier oilTwo forms: steam distilled (essential oil) and cold pressed (carrier oil)
Contains beta carotene (pro vitamin A)Cold pressed carrot seed oil contains beta carotene
Rich in essential fatty acidsOnly the cold pressed oil contains fatty acids
No dilution requiredThe essential oil requires dilution while the carrier oil doesn’t
Contains vitamin EContains vitamin E
This table shows the main difference between carrot oil and carrot seed oil.


There are actually three types of oils that can be extracted from carrot plants (source):

  • Carrot Oil (aka macerated carrot oil or carrot carrier oil): this is made from the edible carrot. The carrots are dried and soaked in a carrier oil for an extended period of time. During the soaking process, the medicinal properties of the carrot are extracted into the carrier oil. Since this is a carrier oil, it can be used directly on the skin without any dilution. It usually has a yellow to orange-red color. Lastly, this oil contains fat-soluble nutrients found in carrots.
  • Cold-Pressed Carrot Seed Oil (aka carrot seed carrier oil): this is extracted from the seed of wild carrots (aka Queen Anne’s Lace, latin name Daucus carota). It is a carrier oil with a yellow to orange color and can be applied directly to the skin, no dilution required. This oil has a medium-weight consistency, slow absorption rate and yellow to orange color (sometimes, with a green undertone). In addition, this oil contains the fat-soluble nutrients that are in the wild carrot seed.
  • Steam Distilled Carrot Seed Oil: also extracted from the seed of wild carrots, this is an essential oil. Therefore, it must be diluted with a carrier oil before topical application. Because this is an essential oil, it doesn’t have any of the vitamins or minerals associated with carrots. This has a clear color and an earthy scent.


Both types of carrot seed oils contain carotol, which is an antioxidant. The exact breakdown is:

  • 30.55% carotol in cold-pressed carrot seed oil.
  • 66.78% carotol in carrot seed essential oil.

Aside from carotol, the essential oil contains lots of other volatile compounds.

On the flip side, cold-pressed carrot seed oil contains:

  • vitamin E.
  • beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A).
  • essential fatty acids. The most abundant is oleic acid at 82%.

Although there’s not a ton of research on both types of carrot seed oils, a few studies – and anecdotal evidence – suggest that they are:

  • Antibacterial.
  • Antifungal.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Antioxidant and subsequently, anti-aging.

In addition, some people use carrot seed oils for hyperpigmentation. While there are some anecdotal reports that these oil help to even out skin tone, more research is needed to confirm this.

Furthermore, an old study from 2009 suggested that carrot oil acts as a natural sun protectant (source).

It’s been proposed that this is likely due to the compound umbelliferone, which is also found in sunscreens (source). However, that study did not make it clear whether the oil used was a seed oil or a macerated oil.


Macerated carrot oil is rich in:

  • Beta carotene, which is the compound that gives carrots their orange color.
  • Vitamin E (from the carrot as well as the vitamin E from the oil that the carrots are soaked in).
  • Fatty acids (coming mainly from the carrier oil that the carrots are soaked in).
  • Fat-soluble minerals.

As such, this oil helps to promote cell turnover and is often used in skin care for:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Hyperpigmentation.
  • Soothing dry, irritated or inflamed skin.
  • Overall skin renewal.

NOTE: the carrier oil used to make carrot oil will give it additional skin care benefits. For example, sunflower oil is often used in the making of carrot oil. So, you will get the additional anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and emollient benefits that come from the sunflower oil.


Here are some tips for using carrot seed essential oil:

  • Always mix with a carrier oil. Never apply it undiluted to your skin. Choose from oils like jojoba, rosehip, grapeseed or any of the carrot carrier oils.
  • When using on your face, stick to a low dilution of 0.5% (2 drops for every tablespoon of carrier oil) or 1% (4 drops for every tablespoon of carrier oil). For the rest of the body, you can go up to the maximum dilution for carrot seed which is 3% (13 drops for every tablespoon of carrier oil).
  • This oil combines well with other skin-friendly oils like frankincense, geranium and lavender. For more on diluting essential oils please use this guide.

Now, here are some guidelines for using carrot seed carrier oil and macerated carrot oil:

  • Always apply to clean skin.
  • To lock in moisture, apply the oil after your moisturizer.
  • If you skip moisturizer, then make sure your skin is damp before applying the oil. You can mist your face with plain water, a hydrosol (such as rosewater) or a mixture of glycerin and water (I personally like a 1:16 ratio of glycerin to water).
  • To boost your moisturizer’s emollient properties, mix a few drops of the carrier oils with your moisturizer in the palm of your hand. Then massage onto clean skin.
  • Add a few drops of either carrier oil into your clay masks. This will make the mask less drying and give it some additional skin softening benefits.

If you’re ready to experiment with these oils, here are some suggested products:

Plant Therapy Carrot Seed Essential Oil – get it here.

Cold Pressed Carrot Seed Oil – get it here.

Macerated Carrot Oil from Typology – get it here.


Does carrot seed oil contain retinol?

Carrots do not contain retinol. Rather, they contain beta carotene, which is converted to retinol. In addition, it is not clear whether any of the carrot seed oils contain beta carotene. Only macerated carrot oil is known to have beta carotene.

Will carrot seed oil turn my skin orange?

Depending on your skin tone, you may notice a yellow or orange tint when using carrot-derived oils.

Is carrot seed oil good for under eyes?

Carrot seed oil may help to improve fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone around the eyes.

Can I use carrot seed oil as a sunscreen?

While research suggests that carrot derived oil may be able to absorb UVB light, it’s not clear which type of carrot oil – seed oil or macerated oil – might provide this benefit.

So, it is best not to rely on any type of carrot oil as a substitute for sunscreen.

Is carrot seed oil safe while breastfeeding?

Carrot seed essential oil is not considered safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding (source).


Carrot oil is a carrier oil that is ideal for dry, mature or inflamed skin. It’s high beta carotene content is ideal for supporting skin renewal. As for carrot seed, the steam distilled essential oil is rich in antioxidants, while the cold-pressed oil provides soothing essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

You Might Also Like:

10 Best Natural Alternatives to Retinol

Why You Need Rosehip Oil For Hyperpigmentation (& How To Use)

The Difference Between Rosehip Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil: Benefits, Which To Use and How to Use

What To Mix (And Not) With Rosehip Oil For Face – The Ultimate Guide

How to Use Carrot Seed Oil for Hyperpigmentation